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Washington defeated the Chicago Bears in the 1942 NFL title game.

NFL Countdown: Washington thwarted Bears' shot at the perfect season in '42

Going undefeated through an entire NFL season is ridiculously hard to do, with only one team in history managing the feat in the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

The Patriots came close to achieving the mark in the 2007/08 NFL season, but fell short in a dramatic game against Eli Manning and the Giants.


However, 30 years prior to the Dolphins' 1972 feat, the Chicago Bears were just one game away from managing the same history-making effort.

Chicago and Washington standout in regular season

Back then, there were 11 regular-season games followed by one championship game. The Bears were perhaps one of the most dominant teams ever as they sailed through the 1942 season 11-0.

During their win streak, they scored 40+ points five times and managed to shut out four teams in their iconic regular season run. They averaged 350.4 yards per game, which was the highest in the NFL, and on defense, they only allowed 7.6 points on average. Only three teams scored 10 points or more against them, per Pro Football Reference.

@Redskins' "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh in 1942 @nfl championship game in DC. Ruins @ChicagoBears perfect season. #football http://t.co/USEEDRowRv

Washington were of similar ilk. They went through the 1942 season 10-1, with the only blemish coming against the New York Giants in Week 2. Like the Bears, Washington was near the top of the NFL for points scored and points conceded. They ranked third in points per game (20.6) and second for points allowed (9.3).

The Bears had two quarterbacks who did damage in the regular season. Sid Luckman (1,024 yards, 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions) and Charlie O'Rourke (951 yards, 11 touchdowns and 16 interceptions) were Chicago's main men.

For Washington, it was Sammy Baugh. He threw for 1,524 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions as he led his team to the championship game.

NFL immortality awaited Chicago in title game

Boasting a joint record of 21-1 heading into the championship game, the Bears were undefeated. They were given huge favoritism for the regular season performance they put up.


36,006 fans packed into Griffith Stadium to watch the penultimate game of the 1942 NFL season.

There was no scoring during the first quarter, but in the second, the Bears took the lead. Lee Artoe recovered a fumble and took it 52 yards to the house for Chicago to snatch a 6-0 lead as they missed the conversion kick. The undefeated season was alive.

Washington responded in the second quarter with a touchdown strike from Sammy Baugh. The quarterback found Wilbur Moore on a 39-yard pass into the endzone for Washington to take the lead with a successful conversion kick.

OTD 1942

Installed as 22-point underdogs, #WashingtonFootball avenges its 73-0 title game loss two years earlier to shock the then-undefeated Bears, 14-6.

Chicago had won 18 straight entering the contest, and 26 of its last 27.

#WFT's 2nd NFL title

Washington added to its lead in the third quarter with a one-yard run by fullback Andy Farkas to put his team up 14-8. That ended the scoring as the Chicago Bears came unstuck in the final game of the season.

Edited by
Nicolaas Ackermann
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